Rory Ramsden – Luxury French Property Finder & Buyer's Agent in south west France
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Home Hunting in France for a Dream

Home hunting in France can be great fun but don’t underestimate the amount of work involved or…

Home hunting in France for the dream ...

Hidden away in the heart of a park of more than 4 hectares decorated with ancient trees, you will find this 15th century Chateau

The thrill of hunting down that longed for antique or bagging a decorative water-color sends millions of home makers out to scour car boot sales (this is what’s called a ‘vide grenier‘ in France) every summer in search of a prize. Hunting for bargains is exciting.  It can also be damaging… for your bank balance.

The same thing can happen when hunting for a second home in France.

The Basics

Before leaving for your home hunting trip in France, you need to prepare thoroughly. You may luck out on a spontaneous trip but the odds are stacked against you. You need to clearly define your search criteria. Circulate it to all the realtors (agent immobilier) you have identified. If necessary, give each one a call and discuss their ideas. Then, do as much research as you can using Google Earth, Google Street  View and simple Google Search to find out as much as you can on each possible. Make a shortlist of properties to view and organize your viewing schedule.

If this sounds like a large chunk of time out of your already busy life, it is. Not doing your homework will mean endless hours viewing totally unsuitable properties and ultimately a wasted trip.
 When you arrive…
Make sure you arrive at each appointment early. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get going. Take the time to have a coffee and discuss the day’s schedule with your immobilier. Look at each property and let the realtor give you as much background as he can. Compare this with what you have already found out.
You never know. He may have a few new properties to show you that may be more to your liking.
It is always good to get off on the right foot. Be friendly. Listen to advice. Make sure that he understands that you are a serious prospect who has done his homework and are ready to buy in cash the moment you find the right property in the right place at the right price.
During the hunt
Never mind how big your budget or how much you are taken by a property, be cautious. That can be hard when you are smitten. You become emotionally involved. You forget to ask important questions. You find it hard to strike the best deal you can.
The moral of the story is to take your time. Real estate in France can be on the market for one or two years before it finds a buyer. A few more days will not make any difference. Go away and look at the rest of the properties on your short list. Do your best to find something that compares. If nothing else, this will give context. It will allow you compare apples with apples and understand value.
Then make a second visit. Say nothing. Don’t commit yourself. Reflect at your leisure. Then drop in and speak to the agent again. Ask leading questions and listen to the answers with interest but without giving the game away.
 Take your time
 Before making your opening offer, remember that low-balling it could be fatal. A French owner may take serious offense and refuse to believe that you are serious. The French property market may have just past the bottom of its cycle but that does not mean that vendors will let you ‘steal’ their beloved homes.

Home hunting in France can be great fun. It can also take longer than you possibly imagined. Refining your search. Sorting the wheat from the chaff. Making sure that each property on your short list really has earned its place. This process can take more time than you imagined. One way to short circuit all this is to work with a professional French home hunter.

About the Author Rory

Rory Ramsden is a French property finder and buyer's agent working for high net worth private clients wishing to buy a chateau, manor or vineyard in the south west of France. He has lived in France for 8 years after spending time travelling the world on business.

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